Airline to focus on Asia and place $9.4 billion order for 110 A320s
Australia’s Qantas Airways has announced that it will invest $9.4 billion in new Airbus aircraft and establish two new airlines in Asia. The radical new plans are part of a “do-or-die” restructuring program to save its loss-making international routes. Qantas will turn its focus to the globe’s fastest-growing aviation market, meaning that 1,000 jobs will be cut in Australia. It will launch a new premium Asian airline at an as-yet unspecified base as well as a Japanese low-cost carrier together with Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi Corp.
Airbus A320s will dominate the new airlines’ fleets – up to 110 of them in total – a decision that solidifies their reputation as airlines’ most popular aircraft for regional networks rather than anything yet offered by Boeing. The acquisition will total more than $9.4 billion at list prices. Simultaneously, Qantas will abandon some of its long-haul routes from Australia and retire older planes.
CEO Alan Joyce said that the reasons for the radical makeover were clear. “Right now,” he said, “82 out of every 100 people flying out of Australia are choosing to fly with an airline other than Qantas, not including Jetstar.” Jetstar, Qantas’ low-cost subsidiary, has seen strong growth in recent years.
[pictured: Boarding using Qantas Frequent Flier Card; courtesy Qantas]